Super Bowl LII Preview: Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots

Can the Patriots win again?

The talking is over and Super Bowl LII is here at last. The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots will battle it out at US Bank Stadium for the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Doug Pederson’s men are aiming to produce an upset to defeat the Patriots to clinch the Super Bowl for the first time.

New England are striving to win the title for the third time in four years and secure back-to-back crowns. They were the last team to accomplish the feat – ironically defeating the Eagles at the end of the 2004 season.

Tom Brady is the only player still remaining from the team that triumphed in that campaign. The 40-year-old is looking to secure his sixth Super Bowl ring, which would leave him alone as the most distinguished player in the history of the NFL.

It will be far from a straightforward task for the Patriots quarterback. The Eagles boasted a 13-3 record in the regular season and have defeated the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings to reach the final game of the campaign.

Even without Carson Wentz, their defense has proven to be a solid unit and will be doing their utmost to keep Brady and company off their game. Nick Foles had an outstanding performance against the Vikings and will be determined to emulate his display on Sunday.

We’ll now break down both teams and analyse the betting options for the contest.

Philadelphia Eagles

Cox will need to lead the Eagles forward

The Eagles have performed brilliantly in the post-season to reach the Super Bowl. Their dreams appeared to have ended when Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL in his side’s road win over the Los Angeles Rams. Wentz was performing at an elite level and would have surely carried the Eagles’ into the contest, but Nick Foles has performed well enough in his absence. The 29-year-old was shaky at the end of the regular campaign, while he was not overly impressive in their win over the Falcons in the Divisional Round.

However, Foles was sensational in the NFC Championship game, throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns. The quarterback has to perform at that level once again to put points on the board. Foles may not be able to expect support from the running game as Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount have been quiet in the post-season. New England have been strong against the rush in the second half of the campaign – therefore it will be on Foles to deliver the victory. He has talent to work with in his receiving corps. Zach Ertz has to dominate, while Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith have to win their respective match-ups to ease the pressure. It will have to be a team effort.

Defensively it’s the same story. The strength of Philadelphia’s defense is their defensive line. Jim Schwartz can unleash eight pass-rushers at Brady throughout the contest. They have to get home to make his life extremely difficult on Sunday – emulating the success of the New York Giants from 2007 and 2011. Without that pressure Brady will be able to use his playmakers to pick apart the coverage down the field. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Chris Long have to deliver.

New England Patriots

Can the Patriots win again?

The build-up to the Super Bowl has been all about Brady. He continues to astound at the age of 40, leading his side to their 10th Super Bowl and eighth during his time in New England. Reports suggested that there have been issues between the quarterback and Belichick this term. However, it has not stopped the machine rolling on. Brady produced yet another comeback in the AFC Championship game, leading the Patriots from a 10-point deficit to defeat the Jaguars. He remains at the peak of his powers and has the weapons to carve apart the Eagles’ defense. The issue will be whether he is afforded time in the pocket to find his team-mates.

Philadelphia’s defensive line will cause New England a host of issues – similar to that of the Giants’ teams of old. If Brady is knocked out of his rhythm it will bring Foles and the Eagles into the game. The short passing game guided the Patriots past the Seattle Seahawks three years ago. That system should be employed again with Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis and James White coming to the fore. Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks will be available for big plays when Brady has time to throw downfield. They’re all experienced playmakers and have proven calibre in the Super Bowl.

New England were put on the back foot by the Jaguars in the AFC Championship game. They will face the same issues in the Super Bowl. They always seem to figure it out in the end, but Belichick and Matt Patricia will want to be on form from the off. Their objective will be to force the game into the hands of Foles by taking away Blount and Ajayi. The unit will allow yards, but will not give the Eagles easy access to the endzone. It will be up to Foles to produce the magic to defeat them.

Betting Options

The Patriots have the experience and the best quarterback of all-time on their side. Philadelphia will have a solid plan and a stout defensive unit put in the way of New England. Whether the Eagles are able to make enough plays on the big stage is the probing question. Foles rose to the occasion against the Vikings. However, he was playing on home soil and with momentum following a defensive play from Patrick Robinson.

Brady has broken hearts time and again, including the Eagles’ in the 2004 campaign. Expect him to do so again – back the Patriots at -196   with Betway to secure the win. The spread has varied throughout the week, but has settled at 4.5 points. New England are renowned for playing tight Super Bowls – their six-point triumph last season was the biggest margin of victory.

Taking the Eagles on the +4.5 spread could be a solid option at -109   with 888Sport. Belichick’s men have won every Super Bowl they have played after scoring 20 points. The magic number for them is probably 24 – therefore take them to score over 26.5 points at odds of -111   with BetVictor. Amendola has been money for the Patriots in the playoffs. He has scored a touchdown in each of his two Super Bowls, and scored two strikes in their win over the Jaguars. Back him to score anytime at odds of +225   with 888Sport.

Prediction

New England Patriots 27-24 Philadelphia Eagles

Tips Summary

New England Patriots To Beat Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII
Sunday 4th February 2018 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: -196

Philadelphia Eagles To Cover +4.5 Spread Super Bowl LII
Sunday 4th February 2018 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: -109

New England Patriots To Score Over 26.5 Points Super Bowl LII
Sunday 4th February 2018 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: -111

Danny Amendola To Score Touchdown Anytime Super Bowl LII
Sunday 4th February 2018 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +225